Bears Try Out Former Jets DB & Ex-49ers Pass Rusher, 11 Others

Ronald Blair

Getty Ronald Blair was one of 13 workouts for the Bears heading into Week 1.

With less than a week before they kick off their regular season against the San Francisco 49ers, the Chicago Bears worked out a boat load of players.

According to the NFL’s September 6 waiver wire, the Bears brought in 13 players for tryouts.

In addition to former Green Bay Packers quarterback Kurt Benkert, the Bears worked out five wide receivers: Alex Bachman, Matt Cole, Kaden Davis, Jaquarii Roberson and Reggie Roberson.

Chicago also had linebacker Andre Anthony, defensive backs Blessuan Austin and Tim Harris, defensive linemen Ronald Blair and Donovan Jeter and offensive linemen Michael Niese and Josh Seltzner in for tryouts.

Considering the team’s depth at receiver, on O-Line and at cornerback, specifically, it’s not a surprise to see the Bears looking to improve those areas.

Bears Eyeing WRs Due to Injury, Depth Issues

The Bears have had several wideouts go down with injuries over training camp and the preseason, including presumed WR2 Byron Pringle and rookie third-rounder Velus Jones Jr. While both Pringle and Jones returned to practice on September 6, they may have limited reps against the 49ers. Behind them on the depth chart are Dante Pettis and Ihmir Smith-Marsette, so if injury strikes again, Chicago could be in big trouble.

The Bears have been criticized for not adding a big-name wideout this offseason, but they’ve certainly looked at several available free agents, including the five they just brought in.

So, who are these guys?

WR Overview: Who did Bears Bring in?

Cole has played in just two NFL games over his two seasons in the league, playing only on special teams. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound WR has had cups of coffee with numerous teams on their practice squads, including the Miami Dolphins (2020), New York Jets (2021), New York Giants (2021) and the Seattle Seahawks (2021–2022).

He has also spent time with the 49ers (2020), Carolina Panthers (2021) and Washington Commanders (2022). An undrafted free agent, Cole entered the league in 2020 and attended college at McKendree University, a Division II school.

The 6-foot, 190-pound Bachman caught 82 passes for 1,162 yards and 10 touchdowns in 32 games at Wake Forest before entering the league as an UDFA, signing with the Los Angeles Rams after the 2019 draft.

He was released by the Rams that year and picked up by the Giants in November. Former Giants wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert now holds the same role in Chicago, so Bachman, who has played in four NFL games over two years, is a name to watch.

Davis signed with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent out of Northwest Missouri State after the 2022 draft. He had 10 touchdowns and 714 receiving yards on 44 catches as a senior and was part of Denver’s initial roster trim-down. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Davis has speed, running a 4.38 40-yard dash at his Pro Day.

Jaquarii Roberson signed with the Dallas Cowboys after the draft as an UDFA out of Wake Forest this year. The 6-foot-1, 182-pound wideout caught 71 passes for 1,078 yards and eight scores in 13 games as a senior with the Demon Deacons in 2021, and was a casualty of final roster cuts for Dallas.

Another UDFA, Reggie Roberson was a four-year starter at SMU before signing with the Tennessee Titans after the draft. The 6-foot-1, 197-pound WR finished with 51 catches for 625 yards and six TDs in his final season with the Mustangs.

Bears Also Bring in Ex-49ers Defender & Former Jets Starter

Of the rest of the players Chicago brought in, Blair and Austin may be the most noteworthy names.

Blair was a fifth-round pick for the 49ers (142nd overall) in 2016. He played in 47 games for San Francisco over his four seasons with the team, starting two. While with the Niners, the 6-foot-4, 270-pound Blair amassed 88 total tackles (22 for loss), 27 QB hits, a forced fumble and 13.5 sacks.

He tore his ACL toward the end of the 2019 season, and sat out the following year in 2020 as a result. He landed with the Jets in 2021, playing in eight games and starting three. He finished with 28 total tackles (four for loss), four QB hits and a sack last season.

Austin was a sixth-round pick for the Jets (196th overall) in 2019, and he appeared in 18 games over the 2019 and 2020 seasons with New York (16 starts). He accumulated 88 tackles (three for loss), eight pass breakups and two forced fumbles over his two years with the Jets, who waived him in September of 2021. The 6-foot-1, 198-pound corner caught on with Seattle after that, and he played in 11 games for the Seahawks last year, starting one.

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